Cumulative effects of fuel management on the soils of eastern U.SThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Fuel management treatments in the Eastern United States encompass diverse activities that have a range of potential impacts on the soils within watersheds of managed forests and grasslands. In industrial or production forests, the predominant fuel management strategies are intensive site preparation (bedding, roller chopping, and burning slash), use of herbicides, and pre-commercial or early rotation thinning; these activities probably impact the most land area in the East. On public lands that are managed for natural resources, the fuel treatment strategies often are more varied and can include herbicide applications and thinning, prescribed fire, grazing, or targeted chainsaw- felling of specific understory species. Thus, effects of fuel management on forest soils can be very subtle or protracted such as a plant-soil-microbe feedback resulting from removal of a single plant species; or they can be acute and profound such as the direct soil-profile disrupting disturbances associated with site preparation and logging. Because the functions of forest soil arise through complex interactions among physical, chemical, and biological components, this chapter will address the effects of individual fuel treatment practices on each of these components (Burger 1994).